Face? Rocked off. Heart? Still beating.
Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and his band, Earthbound Papas, headlined the concert Saturday night at the 10th MAGFest (Music and Gaming Festival), held this year at National Harbor, MD. The crew traveled directly from Japan to the Washington D.C. area to bring live prog rock versions of gaming's best songs to the show's main stage, including Final Fantasy VII's "Still More Fighting," Final Fantasy V's "Clash on the Bridge" and the ultimate version of Final Fantasy VI's boss battle, "Dancing Mad."
About 2,500 fans packed the hall in what the convention center says was their biggest concert ever. Uematsu followers, lifelong MAGFest attendees and new guests packed the floor so tightly that it was hard to move. Stationed to the right of the stage in a roped off area was a Uematsu fan with his two children, both of which are named after the composer in some way.
The energy of Uematsu and his band was infectious. Fans screamed, cried and I even saw one swoon, nearly falling backwards. This energy was present through the entire set, leading up to the ovation performance, where I saw Uematsu pounding on his Hammond organ with clawed hands, hitting the lower half of the keyboard with his butt as he bounced up and down.
I've seen a lot of live performances in my time, but I've never seen a show this great. I'm still buzzing. In the middle of the show I heard someone behind me say, "I'm never missing another MAGFest ever again."
Be sure to check out the work of our photographer Chris Serani in the gallery below.